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Whether working from home, working from an office (or a balance of both), we’re only as connected as the technology that supports us. Therefore, at Irvine Company, we’re committed to providing above-and-beyond levels of connectivity at each of our three Chicago buildings — One North Wacker, 71 South Wacker and 300 North LaSalle — to enable customer productivity and help ensure customer success. To uncloak the full capabilities of our wireless infrastructure, we sat down with Michael Driscoll, Sr. Wireless and Access Specialist at Irvine Company. 

And as proof of our commitment to connectivity tech, all three buildings are Platinum certified under the global organization WiredScore. WiredScore operates Wired Certification, a digital connectivity system that rates the quality and resilience of digital infrastructure in commercial real estate buildings. Alongside Driscoll, we spoke with John Meko, WiredScore Director of Engineering in North America, to contextualize the importance of this connectivity in today’s building tech market. 

The Scope of Enhanced Wireless

From fiber to wireless connectivity, Irvine Company guarantees our customers are equipped with choice. As part of our effort to bring seamless coverage to our Chicago properties, we’ve installed a distributed antenna system (DAS) to each building. 

The DAS, Driscoll explains, “is essentially building a cell tower inside the building. Through cables and antennas wired on each floor and wireless providers connected in the basement, the DAS acts like a sprinkler system distributing cellular signal throughout the building. This results in perfect, wall-to-wall coverage at a consistent signal level.” 

Having a DAS is crucial for effective wireless coverage. Comparatively, standard outdoor coverage struggles to permeate through building walls or to spread above the tenth floor. But with a DAS installed, building users experience improved service with better voice and data quality, increased mobile device efficiency and battery life, up to 10x improvement on mobile data throughput and the ability to use a mobile device anywhere — even in elevators. 

To put things into perspective, Meko shares, “Less than 8% of buildings are equipped with an in-building DAS, which is a major challenge for both landlord and tenants. 80% of mobile traffic takes place indoors but the vast majority of buildings have no means of ensuring that tenants can have a reliable experience.”

The DAS also allows multiple wireless carriers at once to provide service through this powerful coverage. But, Driscoll adds, “even with the system installed, the average DAS has roughly 1.5 carriers on it.” Irvine Company is proud to say that each of our three office buildings in Chicago provide coverage from at least two wireless carriers, whether that’s Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile/Sprint.

The Impact of Enhanced Wireless

Beyond the benefits outlined above, building customers see the impact of enhanced in-building wireless in two major areas: on productivity and on satisfaction.

Meko underscores these productivity savings, sharing: “In today’s hyper-connected environment, seamless connectivity, both wired and wireless, are the bedrock of productivity levels for customers. This is evidenced by the cost of losing connectivity — in 2018, that cost was an average loss of $100,000 per hour of downtime for a Fortune 500 business, and in 2019, that cost shot up to $300,000.” 

“The pandemic has shown us how difficult it can be to collaborate, to communicate and to be productive without a connection,” says Meko, “and the corporate connectivity stack has evolved as a result, starting with in-building connectivity.” 

At Irvine Company, we recognize how important it is to stay connected, and remain continually committed to providing best-in-class digital infrastructure to help ensure customer success.

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